Clovis PD using grant-funded body cameras as investigative tool

Photo contributed by Clovis Police Department

By Michaela Parker | Reporter

Clovis Police continues to protect the citizens of Clovis by remaining at the forefront of modern technology.

This comes in the form of a body camera worn by the police officers, as well as installing fixed license readers on traffic signals. On July 25, Clovis Police Department released a statement that 15 of its police officers would be wearing body cameras as part of a trial period.

“The goal of our body camera program is to accurately collect evidence and record the officers’ contact with the public or other incidents that they may encounter,” the department said in the statement.

The move to add body cameras to patrolling police officers is not an issue of trust but a tool that allows police officers to document scenes accurately.

Overall, Clovis PD stresses that the addition of the body cameras is not a sign of distrust but a way to sort through all of the cameras provided by the advances in modern technology. Before adding the cameras, the department invested a great deal of time visiting other police departments to research body camera programs already in place. The department prides itself on always being at the cutting edge of technology – a goal that is directly related to the safety of the citizens that they have pledged to protect.

The body cameras worn by the police officers is just one of two cameras added to the patrol. License plate readers have been installed at the intersection of Willow and Shaw in Clovis, patrolling two lanes pointed in one direction of traffic. For years, Clovis PD has used license plate readers attached to the trunk of patrol cars; however, the patrol cars are only able to be on the road for an average of 40 hours a week, unlike the fixed cameras that are able to run 24/7.

Within the limited time the cameras have been used, they have been instrumental in making several arrests and returning stolen cars to their owners. Clovis PD wants to ensure the citizens that the constant monitoring is not an invasion of privacy.

“Driving a car on the road in a public area is open to anyone taking pictures or viewing it, for us it is an investigative tool,” said Lt. Dan Sullivan. “We don’t take pictures of license plates and then just run the registration at random to see who it is. This camera system will recognize a license plate and check it against a hot sheet so to speak to see if it is a stolen vehicle. If it is, then our dispatch is notified and they can direct officers to the vehicle.”

Sgt. Jim Munro brings up a recent case where a suspect fled in a car that was unable to be identified by bystanders. The police, using their vast investigative knowledge, looked into the nearby cameras to see if any license plates had been flagged as stolen. The cameras were able to capture a photograph of the actual car as well as the actual license plate that helped in a previous standstill investigation. Both cameras have proven to be helpful in the Clovis PD’s continued effort to protect the citizens of Clovis.

[vc_media_grid element_width=”12″ gap=”20″ item=”7711″ grid_id=”vc_gid:1470775293059-eae70d09-0b3d-6″ include=”9895″]